Address educational needs of migrants, displaced population-2019 GEM Report

The 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report was on Tuesday launched in Accra with a call on governments to address the educational needs of migrants and displaced populations with the same attention given to their citizens.

The report said the requirements of birth certificates before access to education was a discriminatory barrier, and should be prohibited in all national laws.

It stressed the need for governments to protect migrants and refugees right to education irrespective of their identification documents or residence and apply favourable laws without exception.

The GEM report was facilitated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) with funding from group of governments, multilateral agencies and private foundations.

This year’s report which assessed the world’s progress towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four was on the theme: ‘Migration, displacements and education, building bridges not walls.’

The SDG four entreats governments to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.

Mrs Sheila Naah -Boamah, Executive Secretary of the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NABPTEX), who launched the report on behalf of Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Education Minister, observed that ignoring the education of migrants squandered a great deal of human potential.

“Provision of education in itself is not sufficient, the school environment needs to adapt to and support specific needs of those on the move,” she said.

She suggested that copies of the report be shared with other stakeholders in the education sector to help to intensify national and international efforts to deliver quality education.

Placing migrants and refugees in the same school with host populations was according to her an important starting point to building social cohesion.

Professor Joseph Teye, Director, Centre for Migration Studies at the University of Ghana (UG) who presented findings of the report said the GEM recommended that respecting the right to education must go beyond legislation and administrative processes.

The report asked governments and planning authorities to ensure that public schools were within the reach of informal settlements and slums.

It stressed the need for development partners to support governments of developing countries to mobilise funds to design and implement programmes to meet the educational needs of displaced populations and migrants.

 The GEM report further called on countries with large immigrants and refugee inflows to capture data on migrant populations in management information systems to plan and budget accordingly.

It said the government must also review education content and delivery, adapting curricula and rethinking textbooks to reflect history and current diversity, stating that education contents needed to bring to the fore migration’s contributions to wealth and prosperity.

Mr Abdourahamane Diallo, UNESCO’s representative to Ghana was positive that the report would make the case for investing in the education of children left behind by migrant’s parents following them as seasonal migrants.

He hoped that the launch of the report would bring together development partners, students, researchers, Civil Society Organisations, migrations experts and stakeholders in education to discuss and pay attention to how education was shaping internal and regional migration trends.

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